Winning Pitch Delivers $25,000 Funding For Disability Vehicle Share Project
24 October 2017 at 8:00 am
Australian not-for-profit technology enabler Connecting Up has received $25,000 in funding for a platform to improve disability access vehicle after delivering the winning pitch in the finals of South Australia’s Collaborative Economy Challenge.
Connecting Up finished ahead of 150 organisations from across Australia, with communications manager Grant Smyth delivering the winning pitch, and project manager Megan Short answering questions.
The pitch finals, a part of the Open State Festival, were held in Victoria Square, at the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, in front of an audience of around 150 people, with chief executive officer Anne Gawen there in support.
The pitch idea is for a new share platform in partnership with disability access vehicle fleet management experts CARL through which Australians living with a disability can access idle or under-utilized vehicles.
Connecting Up and CARL will now work to expand an existing South Australian pilot project developed by CARL, with a vision to grow the project nationally and make it possible for people with disabilities and their carers to access vehicles directly.
Connecting Up’s CEO said the program could provide better quality of life for people living with a disability, and could even provide extra income for individuals with modified vehicles, as well as allowing disability service providers to expand their services.
“This could be a life changing service for hundreds of thousands of Australians facing significant restrictions on their mobility because of a lack of suitable transport,” she said.
“It could also be a game changer for disability service providers by allowing them to open up new services, share vehicles and expand their customer bases.
“Having easy and affordable access to a modified vehicle is important not just for people with disabilities to get to appointments, but also for them to remain active and connected with their communities.
“And best of all, it will use resources that are currently lying idle.”
Director and founder of CARL, James Ehmann, was pleased to see the pitch was successful.
“Transportation flexibility has long been a concern for people living with a disability, especially now under the NDIS, and this partnership with Connecting Up takes CARL another step closer to being able to provide flexible and cost effective transportation for everyone across the Country,” he said.
Companies and individuals will eventually be able to post their available vehicles on the platform for rental at an affordable rate, with Connecting Up and CARL working towards a model in which insurance, roadside assistance and fuel costs are included in the rental fee.
The YourSAy’s Share initiative, of which the Share Challenge is a part, seeks to create value or solve a social problem by making better use of idle or wasted resources.
The Connecting Up and CARL initiative comes as the National Disability Insurance Scheme presents opportunities and challenges in almost equal measure for people with disabilities, offering more choice and control, but also making the process for accessing support such as disability transport more complex than ever.
The project was enthusiastically received by the panel of judges in Adelaide, which included senior figures from the Australian not-for-profit sector and an international judge.